George E. Goddard

George Henry Goddard (1817-1906) was an accomplished artist and civil engineer who played a pivotal role in California’s early history. Originally from England, he ventured to California during the height of the Gold Rush, initially seeking fortune in the goldfields. His transition to professional surveying soon entailed working for the California government and winning lucrative contracts from railway and mining companies. This work, in turn, led to significant contributions in cartography, including notable publications such as Britton & Rey’s Map Of The State Of California (1857).

In recognition of his groundbreaking work in surveying the Sierra Nevada, one of the range’s highest peaks (13,564 feet) was named ‘Mount Goddard’ after him in 1864. His later move to San Francisco saw the creation of several iconic representations of the city and its surroundings, etching his name into San Francisco’s historical legacy.

Throughout his adult life, Goddard diligently collected historical objects and documents pertaining to California. Stanford was planning on building a museum for his collection when it was destroyed in the fires following the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. While Goddard himself survived the conflagration, the calamity took such a toll that he died a few months later.

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